Mandanda: We made a big mistake
© AFP

French international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda said that it had been a big mistake by him and the rest of the FIFA World Cup™ squad to have gone on strike during the finals in June.

The 25-year-old Marseille star, who did not play at the finals where France exited humiliatingly in the first round, accepted that he and the rest of the players deserved to be punished by new coach Laurent Blanc for their refusal to train two days before their final match against hosts South Africa.

Blanc, who replaced Raymond Domenech after the finals, has refused to select any of the squad for his first match in charge, the friendly next Wednesday against Norway.

We made a big mistake, and therefore we should assume our responsibility.
Steve Mandanda, France goalkeeper

"It is a France match after all! And it is obvious we are disappointed that we are not playing in it," said the Democratic Republic of Congo-born 'keeper.

"But we made a big mistake, and therefore we should assume our responsibility. We have been punished, and we have to respect the punishment."

Mandanda, who was outstanding last season as Marseille won the French title, and the rest of the squad went on strike in protest at the sending home of forward Nicolas Anelka for an outburst at Domenech at half-time of their match against Mexico.